Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Red-legged seriema

Cariama cristata

Photo by José Fonseca (Wikipedia)

Common name:
red-legged seriema (en); seriema (pt); cariama huppé (fr); chuña de patas rojas (es); rotfußseriema (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Gruiformes
Family Cariamidae


Range:
These birds are found in southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina.


Size:
The red-legged seriema is 75-90 cm long and weighs up to 1,5 kg.


Habitat:
They are mostly found in dry savannas, pastures, grasslands and sparse woodlands, from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.


Diet:
Red-legged seriemas are omnivorous, eating insects, small rodents, lizards, snakes, frogs, other birds, and also leaves, fruits and seeds, including cultivated crops such as maize, beans and grain.


Breeding:
These birds breed in May-September. Both sexes build the nest, a platform of twigs and branches, lined with mud and leaves, placed in a tree 1-5 m above the ground. The female lays 2 pinkish-white egg with light brown speckles, which are incubated by both sexes for 24-30 days. The chicks leave the nest 2 weeks after hatching, when they are not yet able to fly, and follow the parents around until becoming independent 4-5 months later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The red-legged seriema has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size is yet to be quantified, it is described as fairly common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, and may even be benefiting from deforestation in some areas.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Common tailorbird

Orthotomus sutorius

Photo by Allen To (Images of Birds of Hong Kong)

Common name:
common tailorbird (en); costureiro-rabilongo (pt); couturière à longue queue (fr); sastrecillo común (es); rotstirn-schneidervogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sylviidae


Range:
This species is found in southern Asia, from Pakistan and India to southern China and Indonesia.


Size:
These birds are 10-14 cm long and weigh 6-10 g.


Habitat:
The common tailor bird is found in forests, mangroves, scrublands, plantations, agricultural land and within urban areas.


Diet:
They mainly glean insects from foliage, namely beetles and bugs, but are also known to visit to the flowers of Bombak, Salmalia and other large flowers for nectar.


Breeding:
Common tailorbirds can breed all year round, varying between different locations. The nest cup is made of soft plant fibres and placed inside a group of green leaves sewn together by the birds using fibres. The careful sewing allows the leaves to remain alive and green which helps camouflage the nest. The female lays 2-5 pastel blue eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 12-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Ornate tinamou

Nothoprocta ornata

Photo by Silvia Vitale (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
ornate tinamou (en); tinamú-serrano (pt); tinamou orné (fr); inambú serrano (es); Pisaccasteißhuhn (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Tinamiformes
Family Tinamidae


Range:
This species is found in the Andes of of central and southern Peru, western Bolivia, north-western Argentina and northern Chile.


Size:
These birds are 26-32 cm long and weigh 440-760 g.


Habitat:
The ornate tinamou is mostly found in high altitude grasslands, scrublands and arable land, at altitudes of 2.500-4.800 m.


Diet:
They are omnivorous, feeding on clovers and other small leaves, buds, blossoms, fruits, berries, roots, pods, seeds, and sprouting seeds, but also taking beetles and caterpillars as well as grasshoppers and ants.


Breeding:
Ornate tinamous breed in December-August. Unlike other tinamous they are monogamous. They nest on the ground, in a substantial structure made of circularly wrapped grass and resting on a foundation of dry earth or a mixture of earth and mossy turf. The female lays 4-9 glossy violet-chocolate colour eggs, which the male incubates alone for 22-24 days. The chicks leave the nest within 24h of hatching and readily follow the father around while foraging by themselves.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as fairly common. The ornate tinamou is thought to be the most heavily persecuted species in the Andes and is heavily hunted throughout its range. Eggs are also taken by local people and predation by dogs can occur, but it is not considered threatened at present.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Chapada flycatcher

Suiriri islerorum

Photo by Nick Athanas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
chapada flycatcher (en); suiriri-da-chapada (pt); tyranneau des isler (fr); fiofío de la chapada (es)chapadatyrann (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Tyrannidae


Range:
This South American species is found in central and south-western Brazil, in Maranhão,Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, and in adjacent parts of eastern Bolivia.


Size:
These birds are 16 cm long and weigh 20-25 g.


Habitat:
The chapada flycatcher is dry savannas and scrublands, mostly in areas of cerrado at altitudes of 250-750 m.


Diet:
They mainly eat insects and other arthropods, but will occasionally also eat fruits.


Breeding:
Chapada flycatchers breed in September-December. The nest is basket made of plant fibres, lichens and dry leaves, lined with silk cotton, and placed in a fork in a tree or scrub up to 2 m above the ground. There the female lays 1-2 pale cream eggs, which she incubates alone for 15-16 days. The chicks fledge 18-19 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a large breeding range and the population is described as rare to locally fairly common. The species was only described in 2001 and it declined by 30% since then. The main threats are habitat conversion for Eucalyptus and pine plantations, livestock farming, large-scale cultivation of soybeans, rice and other crops, and urbanization.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Golden-tailed woodpecker

Campethera abingoni

Photo by Arno Meintjes (Flickr)

Common name:
golden-tailed woodpecker (en); pica-pau-de-cauda-dourada (pt); pic à queue dorée (fr); pito colidorado (es); goldschwanzspecht (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Piciformes
Family Picidae


Range:
This African species is found from Uganda and northern Angola to South Africa.


Size:
These birds are 20-23 cm long and weigh 55-80 g.


Habitat:
The golden-tailed woodpecker is found in riparian woodlands, dry savannas, scrublands, grasslands, rural areas and parks and gardens within urban areas. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.200 m.


Diet:
They probe the branches of trees in search of arthropods such as ants, termites, caterpillars and millipedes.


Breeding:
Golden-tailed woodpeckers are monogamous and may mate for life. They breed in August-December and both sexes help excavate the nest, usually a hole in the underside of a tree branch. The female lays 2-3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents for 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 22-25 days after hatching, become fully independent a few weeks later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mariqua sunbird

Nectarinia maquiquensis

Photo by Guillaume Emaresi (Flickr)

Common name:
Mariqua sunbird (en); beija-flor-de-Marico (pt); souïmanga de Mariqua (fr); suimanga del Marico (es); bindennektarvogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Nectariniidae


Range:
This species occupies two separate areas in sub-Saharan Africa. One population occurs from Eritrea to Tanzania while the other extends from Angola and south-western Zambia to northern South Africa.


Size:
This species is 10-12 cm long and weighs 11-12 g.


Habitat:
Mariqua sunbirds are mostly found in dry Acacia savannas, in rivers, streams and riparian woodlands, scrub dominated wetlands and swamp forests. They can also be found in suburban gardens.


Diet:
They feed on nectar of a wide range of plants, namely Acacia, Aloe, Bauhinia, Cadaba, Crotalaria, Erythrina, Geranium, Kigelia, Kniphofia, Leonotis, Loranthus, Peltophorum, Callistemoni, Grevillea and Jacaranda. They also glean arthropods from foliage, namely flies, moths, caterpillars, wasps, termites and spiders.


Breeding:
Mariqua sunbirds breed in July-February. the female builds the nest alone, consisting of a compact, pear-shaped structure made of dry grass and spider web, and camouflaged with bark, lumps of resin, small flowers, plant seeds, caterpillar faeces and seed capsules. It is placed in dense foliage, 2-8 m above the ground. There she lays 1-3 eggs, which she incubates alone for 13-15 days. The chicks are fed by the female until fledging, but receive food from both parents for a few weeks after fledging.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally abundant. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mallefowl

Leipoa ocellata

Photo by Edward Smith (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
malleefowl (en); faisão-australiano (pt); léipoa ocellé (fr); talégalo leipoa (es); thermometerhuhn (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Galliformes
Family Megapodiidae


Range:
The mallefowl is endemic to Australia. It was formerly widespread throughout the country, but is now restricted to the southern half of the country, where it is patchly distributed from Western Australia to New South Wales.


Size:
These birds are 60 cm long and weigh 1,5-2,5 kg.


Habitat:
They are found in semi-arid to arid scrublands and woodlands dominated by mallee Eucalyptus and Acacia. They require a sandy substrate and abundance of leaf-litter for breeding.


Diet:
The malleefowl is a generalist forager, mainly eating seeds, but also flowers, fruits and foliage, invertebrates such as ants, beetles and cockroaches, lerp, fungi and tubers.


Breeding:
These birds are monogamous and breed almost all year round. The male builds the nest, a large mound of sand or soil and leaf litter, twigs and bark, 5 m wide and over 1m high, where the female buries 3-35 pink eggs. The eggs are incubated by the warm temperature of the mound, which receives constant attention by the male adding or removing material to ensure the temperature is perfect. The eggs hatch after 49-96 and the chicks receive no parental care after hatching and are capable of flying and feeding themselves within 24 hours of their emergence from the mound.


Conservation:
IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large, but patchy, breeding range. The global population is estimated at 100.000 individuals and is suspected to be declining at a rate of 30-49% over the last 45 years. The malleefowl is mainly threatened by habitat loss due to agricultural expansion and wildfires, predation of young birds by introduced red foxes Vulpes vulpes and wild dogs and low food availability due to plant harvesting and intensive grazing by introduced herbivores such as goats and sheep. Introduction of exotic weeds, the use of agricultural chemicals and road kills may also pose a threat to the species.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Double-collared seedeater

Sporophila caerulescens

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
double-collared seedeater (en); coleirinho (pt); sporophile à col double (fr); corbatita común (es); schmuckpfäffchen (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Emberizidae


Range:
This South American species is found in the throughout the southern half of Brazil and in Bolivia, Peru, northern Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.


Size:
These birds are 10 cm long and weigh around 10 g.


Habitat:
The souble-collared seedeater is mostly found in moist scrublands, but also in degraded patches of former forest, pastures, rural gardens and arable land. They are often found in rice paddies. This species occurs from sea level up to an altitude of 2.100 m.


Diet:
They mainly eat grass seeds, often taking rice seeds from rice plantations. They also eat fruits.


Breeding:
Double-collared seedeaters breed in October-May. The nest is a shallow cup made of grasses, rootlets and other plant fibres, placed in a tree or scrub a few metres above the ground. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-15 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Village indigobird

Vidua chalybeata

Photo by Rob Nagtegaal (PBase)

Common name:
village indigobird (en); viúva-azul (pt); combassou du Sénégal (fr); viuda de la villa (es); rotfuß-Atlaswitwe (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Viduidae


Range:
This African species is found from Senegal to Ethiopia, and south through Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi and into Mozambique, eastern Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.


Size:
These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 12-13 g.


Habitat:
Village indigobirds are mostly found in dry Acacia savannas and scrublands, especially along rivers, but also in sparse woodlands, plantation, arable land and gardens within human settlements.


Diet:
They mainly eat grass seeds, but will also take some insects.


Breeding:
In southern Africa the village indigobirds breeds in December-June. They are polygynous, with each male mating with several females. Village indigobirds are brood parasites, usually laying their eggs on the nests of the red-billed firefinch Lagonostica senegala, as well as other firefinch species such as the brown firefinch Lagonostica nitidula. Each female lays 1-4 eggs per day, for a total of 22-26 per season, and usually removes or eats the eggs of the hosts. The hosts incubate the eggs for 11-12 days and feed the chicks until they fledge, 17-18 days after hatching, and often continue to feed them for another 2 weeks.


Conservation:
IUC status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Calliope hummingbird

Stellula calliope

Photo by Frank Leung (Musée Virtuel du Canada)

Common name:
calliope hummingbird (en); (pt); colibri calliope (fr); colibrí calíope (es); sternelfe (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Apodiformes
Family Trichilidae


Range:
This species breeds in the western United States and in south-western Canada, migrating south to winter in southern Mexico.


Size:
This tiny hummingbirds is 7-9 cm long and has a wingspan of 11 cm, weighing just 2-3 g.


Habitat:
They breed in moist scrublands, grasslands and open mountain forests, often near streams, at altitudes of 200-3.400 m and winter in similar habitats but also in agricultural areas.


Diet:
Calliope hummingbirds mainly eat nectar, especially of red tubular flowers, but will also take small insects and spiders.


Breeding:
These birds nest in a compact cup of plant down, moss, bark and fibres, with lichens on the outside, held together with spider webs. The nest is placed in a twig or branch of a pine or other conifer, or sometimes in a scrub. The female lays 2 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 15-16 days. The chicks are fed by the female alone and fledge 18-21 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 1 million individuals. The population has had a stable trend over the last 4 decades.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Golden whistler

Pachycephala pectoralis

Photo by Jarrod Amoore (Flickr)

Common name:
golden whistler (en); sibilante-dourado (pt); siffleur doré (fr); chiflador dorado (es)gelbbauch-dickkopf (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Pachycephalidae


Range:
This species is found in southern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.


Size:
These birds are 16-18 cm long and weigh 25 g.


Habitat:
The golden whistler is found in virtually any wooded habitat within its range, preferring the denser areas. They are also found in scrublands, plantations, agricultural land and gardens within rural and urban areas.


Diet:
They mainly feed on insects, spiders and other small arthropods, but will also take berries.


Breeding:
Golden whistlers breed in September-January. The nest is a shallow bowl made of twigs, grass and bark, bound together with spider web and lined with finer grass. It is placed in a fork in a scrub or tree, up to 6 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per season.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and, although the global population size has not been quantified, it is reported to be common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Rosy starling

Sturnus roseus

Photo by Eyal Bartov (Eyal Bartov's Photos)

Common name:
rosy starling (en); estorninho-rosado (pt); étourneau roselin (fr); estornino rosado (es); rosenstar (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Sturnidae


Range:
This species is found in eastern Europe and central Asia, from Greece, around the Black Sea and into southern Russia, northern Iran, Kazakhstan and north-western China. They migrate south to winter in India.


Size:
These birds are 18-22 cm long and have a wingspan of 37-40 cm. They weigh 60-90 g.


Habitat:
Rosy starlings are mainly found in steppe and semi-desertic areas, namely grasslands, dry savanna, rocky outcrops, pastures and also in agricultural areas such as vineyards and orchards.


Diet:
In spring and summer they are mainly insectivorous, taking grasshoppers, locusts and caterpillars. During the rest of the year their diet also includes a significant portion of nectar, fruits and berries, namely grapes, mulberries, cherries, apricots, dates and even chillies.


Breeding:
Rosy starlings breed in May-July. The nest is rough cup made of grasses and twigs, lined with feather and finer grass, and placed in holes and crevices, such as gaps between rocks in scree slopes or abandoned holes made by other species. The female lays 3-7 pale blue eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 13-16 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 21-26 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 500.000-2.500.000 individuals. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

African grass-owl

Tyto capensis

Photo by Per Holmen (Per's Birding Pages)

Common name:
African grass-owl (en); coruja-dos-campos (pt); effraie du Cap (fr); lechuza de El Cabo (es); Afrika-graseule (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Strigiformes
Family Tytonidae


Size:
These birds are 34-42 cm long and weigh 330-520 g.


Range:
This African species is patchily distributed from Ethiopia and Cameroon south to South Africa.


Habitat:
The African grass-owl is marshes and tall grasslands, but also in dry savannas and scrublands from sea level up to an altitude of 3.200 m.


Diet:
These nocturnal hunter mostly take small mammals, namely moles, rats and mice, hedgehogs, hares and bats, frogs, small birds ans insects such as beetles and termite alates.


Breeding:
African grass-owls breed in November-July. The nest is an unlined depression in the ground, placed among rank grass, with multiple tunnels through the grass branching out from the nest so that it can move around undetected by predators. The female lays 2-6 eggs, which she incubates alone for 32-42 days, while receiving food from the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and start leaving the nest 4-5 weeks after hatching, but only become able to fly after another 2-3 weeks and achieve independence 1 month later.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be locally common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and degradation through ploughing, grazing, draining and burning.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Rusty-cheeked scimitar-babbler

Pomatorhinus erythrogenys

Photo by Nitin Srinivasamurthy (Oriental Bird Images)

Common name:
rusty-cheeked scimitar-babbler (en); zaragateiro-de-simitarra-ferrugíneo (pt); pomatorhin à joues rousse (fr); cimitarra carirrufa (es); rotwangensäbler (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Timaliidae


Range:
This species is found in the foothills of the Himalayas, from north-eastern Pakistan to Nepal, Bhutan and northern Myanmar and Thailand.


Size:
These birds are 27-28 cm long and weigh 50-60 g.


Habitat:
They are mainly found in dense scrublands and forest edges, often near human settlements.


Diet:
Rusty-cheeked scimitar-babbler forage on the ground among leaf litter, taking adult and larval insects, molluscs, crustaceans, chilopods and earthworms. This mainly carnivorous diet is sometimes supplemented with berries and fruits.


Breeding:
These birds breed in April-June. The nest is a rough, loosely built structure made of dead leaves, grasses, bamboo leaves and ferns, placed on a steep embankment or at the base of a tree. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs with dark spots, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-16 days. The chicks fledge 2 weeks after hatching, but continue to receive food from parents for another month.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a relatively large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any current declines or substantial threats.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

White-winged parakeet

Brotogeris versicolurus

Photo by Luis Vargas (Ornitoteca)

Common name:
white-winged parakeet (en); periquito-de-asa-branca (pt); toui à ailes variées (fr); catita de patas amarillas (es)weissflügelsittich (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae


Range:
This species is native to the Amazon river basin, from eastern Peru and south-eastern Colombia and along the Amazon river and its main tributaries in Brazil all the way to the mouth. It as also been introduced to Lima, Peru, to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, United States.


Size:
These birds are 21-25 cm long and weigh 70 g.


Habitat:
White-winged parakeets are mainly found in rainforests, swamp forests and riparian forests, but also in savannas and urban parks. They mostly found in lowland areas, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.


Diet:
They feed on a wide range of seeds and fruits, but may also eat blossoms and nectar.


Breeding:
The white-winged parakeet breeds in January-July. They nest in tree cavities, where the female lays 3-6 white eggs. The eggs are mainly incubated by the female, for 23-26 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 7-8 weeks after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common to abundant in most parts of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Black-winged bishop

Euplectes hordeaceus

Photo by Martin Goodey (Flickr)

Common name:
black-winged bishop (en); bispo-de-coroa-vermelha (pt)euplecte monseigneur (fr); obispo de corona roja (es); flammenweber (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Ploceidae


Range:
This African species is found from southern Mauritania and Senegal to Ethiopia, and south to Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


Size:
These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 18-20 g.


Habitat:
Black-winged bishops are found in tall grasslands, moist scrublands and woodlands, especially near water. They are also found in cultivated land, especially rice paddies.


Diet:
They mainly eat grass seeds, namely Panicum maximum, Hyparrhenia, Pennisetum and Rottboellia, but also cultivated crops such as rice and green maize. They may also occasionally hawk insects from a low perch.
Breeding:
These birds breed in January-April. They are polygynous, with each male mating with several females. The male builds several nests, oval-shaped structures made of woven grass with a large side-top entrance concealed by a hood of grass inflorescences. The nests are typically placed between grass stems or in coarse vegetation, usually over dry ground. Each female lays 2-4 bluish-green eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by the female and fledge 11-13 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The black-winged bishop has a very large breeding range and is described as common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, and may be benefiting from the expansion of rice cultivation in many parts of its range.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bulwer's petrel

Bulweria bulwerii

Photo by Martin Lofgren (Wild Bird Gallery)

Common name:
Bulwer's petrel (en); alma-negra (pt); pétrel de Bulwer (fr); petrel de Bulwer (es); Bulwersturmvogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Procellariiformes
Family Procellariidae


Range:
The Bulwer's petrel is a pantropical species, being found in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Breeding sites include the eastern Atlantic from the Azores, Portugal to Cape Verde, and the Pacific from eastern China and the Bonin Islands, Japan, east to the Hawaii and the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia.


Size:
These birds are 25-29 cm long and have a wingspan of 70-90 cm. They weigh 80-130 g.


Habitat:
They are marine and highly pelagic, usually being found far from land foraging in warm oceanic waters. They breed in small rocky islands.


Diet:
The Bulwer's petrel mainly feeds on mesopelagic prey, particularly luminescent species such as myctophid and sternoptychid fishes and squids such as Pyroteuthis margaritifera. They also eat planktonic life forms. They mostly forage at night, when these deep sea species visit the surface of the sea.


Breeding:
In the Atlantic they breed in April-October. They are colonial, nesting in natural burrows, crevices, cracks or caves, under debris or vegetation cover, usually about 1 m deep. There the female lays 1 egg which is incubated by both parents for 42-46 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 60-65 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single chicks per year.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The Bulwer's petrel has a relatively large breeding range and a global population estimated at 500.000-1.000.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Namaqua sandgrouse

Pterocles namaqua

Photo by Ian White (Flickr)

Common name:
Namaqua sandgrouse (en); cortiçol-da-Namáqua (pt); ganga namaqua (fr); ganga de Namaqua (es); Nama-flughuhn (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Pterocliformes
Family Pteroclidae


Range:
This species is found in southern Africa, from south-western Angola, through Namibia and Botswana and into Zimbabwe and western South Africa.


Size:
These birds are 24-28 cm long and weigh 140-240 g.


Habitat:
The Namaqua sandgrouse is found in stony deserts, dry scrublands, sandy deserts with scattered bits of grass and dry savannas.


Diet:
They mainly eat small seeds from the ground, namely Indigofera, Lotononis, Tephrosia, Requernia sphaerosperma, Limeum, Giseckia pharnacioides, Amaranthus, Cleome, Chenopodium, Lophiocarpus burchelli and several grasses and daisies. These are complemented with flowers, small fruits and fresh leaves.


Breeding:
Namaqua sandgrouses can breed all year round. They are monogamous, solitary nesters, nesting in a simple scrape in the ground, often lined with grit and typically placed next to a small scrub or grass tuft. There the female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 3 weeks. The chicks leave the nest within a day of hatching and are able to feed themselves, but rely on the male for water and protection for several weeks. During this period the male flies to watering holes and soaks his belly feathers which the young drink from.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common to locally abundant in much of its range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Friday, 13 July 2012

New Holland honeyeater

Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
New Holland honeyeater (en); melífago-de-olho-branco (pt); méliphage de Nouvelle Hollande (fr); mielero de Nueva Holanda (es); weißaugen-honigfresser (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Meliphagidae


Range:
This species is found throughout southern Australia, including Tasmania, from Brisbane, Queensland, to just north of Perth, Western Australia.


Size:
These bird are 18 cm long and weigh 20 g.


Habitat:
New Holland honeyeaters are mostly found in dry scrublands, but also in dry savannas, forests, grasslands, plantations and gardens, especially where Grevillea and Banksia are found.


Diet:
They mostly feed on the nectar of native flowers, such as Banksia, Hakea, Xanthorrhoea, Grevillea and Acacia, but will also eat fruits, insects, spiders and honeydew.


Breeding:
New Holland honeyeaters breed in June-January. The cup-shaped nest is made of bark and grasses, bound together with spider webs and lined with soft materials. It is placed in a scrub or tree, from ground level up to 6 m above the ground. The female lays 1-3 light pinkish eggs with dark red and grey spots, which are incubated for 11-14 days. The chicks fledge 13-16 days after hatching. Each pair may raise 2-3 clutches per season.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and, although the population size is yet to be quantified, the New Holland honeyeater is described as common within areas of suitable habitat. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Japanese white-eye

Zosterops japonicus

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Common name:
Japanese white-eye (en); olho-branco-do-Japão (pt); zostérops du Japon (fr); anteojitos japonés (es); Japanbrillenvogel (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Passeriformes
Family Zosteropidae


Range:
This species is found breeding in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Laos. Some populations migrate south to winter in Myanmar and Thailand. The Japanese white-eye has been introduced to Hawaii.


Size:
These birds are 10-12 cm long and weigh 10-13 g.


Habitat:
Japanese white-eyes are found in temperate forests, moist tropical and sub-tropical forests, rural gardens and in urban areas.


Diet:
They mostly glean small invertebrates from foliage, namely beetles, fly larvae and spiders, but will also take seeds, nectar and fruits.


Breeding:
The Japanese white-eye can breed almost all year round, varying between different parts of its range. The nest is a neatly woven cup, made of grass, plant material, string, tin foil, leaves, mosses, and attached to a fork in a branch with spiders webs. There the female lays 2-5 pale blue eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 11 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-12 days after hatching, but remain with their parents for another 2-3 weeks.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Coquerel's coua

Coua coquereli

Photo by Jonas Rosquist (PBase)

Common name:
Coquerel's coua (en); cúa-de-Coquerel (pt); coua de Coquerel (fr); cúa de Coquerel (es); Coquerel-seidenkuckuck (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae


Range:
This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found in the western and northern parts of the country.


Size:
These birds are 40-45 cm long and weigh around 160 g.


Habitat:
The Coquerel's coua is found in dry forests, dry scrublands, and along the margins of semi-deserts, from sea level up to an altitude of 800 m.


Diet:
They mainly eat adult and larval arthropods, such as beetles, grasshoppers, moths, caterpillars and spiders, but will also eat some fruits and seeds.


Breeding:
Coquerel's couas breed in November-April. They are monogamous and pair bonds are kept over several years. Both sexes build the nest, a bulky cup made of twigs, petioles and bark, placed in dense vegetation, scrubs, lianas or trees, 2-11 m above the ground. The female lays 1-2 eggs which are incubated for a minimum of 13 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 9-10 days after hatching, but are not able to fly yet. They remain with the parents for another 2 months before becoming independent.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a restricted breeding range, but is described as common within this range. At present, the population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, but large scale habitat destruction and hunting may become a threat in the long-term.